Information for the HMS community

VIEW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs), UPDATED AUG. 10

Please click on the accordions below for current campus guidance for Harvard Medical School.

Update as of Aug. 10, 2022:

  • Monkeypox: Harvard University Health Services (HUHS) is monitoring the rise in monkeypox cases, which prompted the World Health Organization and U.S. government to issue health emergency declarations. Click here for more information from HUHS and read more about the illness on the CDC’s monkeypox webpage and Mass General Brigham's monkeypox FAQs. Students and other HUHS patients seeking vaccine referral or evaluation for suspected monkeypox infection or exposure should contact HUHS at 617-495-5711 for phone assessment and instructions.

COVID-19 Update for Fall 2022

  • Masking on Campus: Masking is optional in HMS and HSDM buildings and University-wide, with these noted exceptions: Masks are still required in health care facilities, including HSDM clinical facilities; in classrooms only at the discretion of the instructor; and for those completing isolation or quarantine. 
  • Arrival Testing for Students: Rapid antigen testing is required upon arrival for all residential students and highly encouraged for students who live off campus. Students living in residence halls will have an arrival antigen test provided at move-in.
  • Antigen Testing During Fall: Antigen testing is a fast, convenient, and reliable way to test when you have symptoms or want confirmation of your COVID status. Everyone is eligible for eight free antigen tests a month through your private insurance, and you are encouraged to take advantage of this benefit. For those covered under the University’s Express Scripts program, view this brief tutorial on how to order your free test kits. 
  • Positive Results from Antigen and External PCR Tests: If you test positive for COVID via an antigen or external PCR test, please report your result to HUHS via Crimson Clear.
  • Isolation Guidance: HUHS will continue to offer guidance through automated email. Infected persons should continue to notify their close contacts directly. HUHS staff will support people with complex medical situations as needed.
  • Treatment: Remember that treatment is available for infected persons who exhibit symptoms—even when mild—if the individual is medically high-risk or age 50+. Early treatment can prevent severe illness and hospitalization. The state has established a convenient free telehealth service for higher-risk people interested in oral Paxlovid prescriptions.
  • Pre-Treatment for People with Immune Suppression: If you have moderate or severe immune suppression, speak to the health care provider who manages this condition. You might be eligible for Evusheld treatment, which offers extra protection against COVID-19 for people whose immune system cannot produce sufficient protection through vaccination. Evusheld should be repeated every six months for continued protection.
  • COVID-19 Vaccinations for Students: Students must be up to date according to the CDC definition. Students who fail to meet University vaccine requirements will be blocked from course registration. HUHS continues to offer COVID-19 vaccine appointments.
  • COVID-19 Vaccinations for Employees: Employees must be fully vaccinated (primary series), and we strongly encourage all employees to be up to date according to CDC guidelines. Compliance for the primary series is still being monitored by local HR units.
  • Countway Library

    Click here for current information about library hours, policies, and visitors. For questions, use the Ask Countway form. And click here to access a collection of COVID-19 information and research.

  • Crimson Clear

    Before coming to campus each day, assess your health. If you are feeling well, you do not need to complete Crimson Clear but please follow the Return to Campus Checklist detailed below. If you are not feeling well or are unsure, stay home, let your manager know, answer the questions on Crimson Clear, and HUHS will contact you if you are not cleared to come to campus.

    Each member of the Harvard community can find their updated testing cadence requirement by logging into Crimson Clear.

  • Dining

    HMS Dining is proud to provide a wide variety of culinary options in our campus cafes!  We look forward to seeing you soon.

    Visit our website to learn more and find our daily menus. 

    Elements Café in the New Research Building is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. for continuous service. Deli, grill, and daily specials, along with grab-and-go snacks, salads, fresh fruit, drinks, coffee, and more. Specific hours are as follows:

    • 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Breakfast
    • 11:15 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.: Lunch
    • Open till 3 p.m. for snacks

    Aliquots Café in the New Research Building is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. for continuous service, featuring grab-and-go breakfast, snacks, lunch, and your favorite espresso beverages.

    Courtyard Café in the Warren Alpert Building is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. for continuous service, featuring a deli, daily specials, grab-and-go snacks, salads, drinks, fresh fruit, coffee, and more. Specific hours are as follows:

    • 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Breakfast
    • 11:15 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.: Lunch
    • Open till 3 p.m. for snacks

    Expanded outdoor seating is now available.

    Mobile ordering is available through THRIVE: Good Food Fast. Download the app from the App Store or Google Play for quick and contact-free ordering. With Thrive App you can: 

    • Order ahead from where you work and skip the line
    • Limit contact by using the mobile checkout 
    • Choose from the Deli at Courtyard Café and the Deli and Grill at Elements Café
    • Order your favorite coffee ahead of time at Aliquots Café

    Atrium Cafe in TMEC is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. for continuous service, featuring grab n go breakfast and lunch options along with your favorite bottled beverages, coffee, snacks and more!

    • 7:30 a.m.  10:30 a.m. Breakfast
    • 11:30 a.m. 1:30 p.m. Lunch
    • Open till 2:00 p.m. for snacks
  • Events & Gatherings

    Effective March 7, 2022, HMS no longer has pandemic-imposed limitations on events and gatherings. 

  • Flexwork Initiative

    The HMS community has successfully adapted to and identified a continued desire for flexibility in where and how we work. Visit the HMS Flexwork Initiative webpage for more information, including why HMS is committed to flexwork, how HMS defines flexwork, resources for staff and for managers/leaders, and answers to frequently asked questions.

  • For International Students & Scholars

    For the latest guidance, visit the Harvard International Office’s COVID-19 FAQ for International Students and Scholars. The FAQ addresses general travel and visa concerns, student issues, work authorization applications, and more.

  • Health & Well-being

    Your mental health is important for your overall health and well-being. Here are some available resources:

    • Watch the HMS Coping with Coronavirus web series for help dealing with daily stress, anxiety, and a range of other emotions
    • Reach out to the Ombuds Office, which is available to support HMS, HSDM, and Harvard Chan School faculty, staff, students, and trainees, as well as affiliate institution appointees, with any issue impacting work or studies, including concerns surrounding COVID-19. Ombuds Melissa Brodrick and Justin Neiman are available for Zoom, phone, and Skype appointments. Call 617-432-4041 or email Robin Cheung
    • Review the Harvard University Health Services guide to help manage fear and anxiety.
    • Participate in webinars and remote workshops offered by the Harvard Longwood Campus Office of Employee Development and Wellness.
    • Access the free Coronavirus Sanity Guide, including meditations, podcasts, blog posts, and talks offered by Ten Percent Happier.

    Additional University Health & Wellness Resources

    Manage Fear & Anxiety
    Balance Work/Life
    Counseling & Mental Health Services
    Harvard University Health Services
    Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
    Harvard Center for Wellness & Health Promotion
    Cope with Stress

  • Isolation & Quarantine

    Isolation and quarantine are ways to keep healthy individuals separated from individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been identified as close contacts who have tested positive. Harvard continues to update its protocols to align with the guidance from the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

    Visit Harvard University’s Quarantine and Isolation webpage for the current protocols, including when and how to isolate and quarantine.

  • Masks & Face Coverings

    • Masking is optional in HMS and HSDM buildings and University-wide, with these noted exceptions: Masks are still required in health care facilities, including HSDM clinical facilities; in classrooms only at the discretion of the instructor; and for those completing isolation or quarantine.
    • If you feel the need to wear a mask for your own protection, or to protect someone close to you, you should do so. Everyone should continue carry a mask when coming to campus in case it becomes necessary to wear it.
    • Harvard will continue to monitor COVID-19 developments and will update masking requirements for the community or for certain populations when necessary.
  • Parking

    Monthly and daily parking options on the HMS campus continue to be available. For details, visit the HMS Parking & Transportation webpage. For parking-related questions, please contact the HMS Commuter Services and Parking Office.

  • Public Transportation

    Reset Your Commute

    As we continue returning to our campus and workplaces, our commutes may still not look like the pre-pandemic normal. CommuteWorks, a MASCO service, offers some tips for getting back to the LMA.

    • Find more comfortable walking routes in your area at Walk Boston.
    • If you don't have a bike, Bluebikes is a great option.
    • Try public transit a few days a week to ease back into your commuting routine.
    • All inbound trains now stop at Ruggles and JFK/UMass. See the new commuter rail schedules.
    • Commute at off-peak times if schedule allows to avoid crowding.
    • Use MBTA-endorsed transit apps to see real-time crowdsourced information for bus and Red/Orange/Blue lines.

    Commuter Rail

    • 5-Day Flex Pass: The 5-day Flex Pass is a pandemic pilot product on the mTicket app that provided five days of Commuter Rail travel within a 30-day period at a 10% discount compared to five round-trip tickets. This pandemic pilot provided an additional option for riders with in-person work schedules limited by the pandemic. With the Commonwealth’s state of emergency ending on June 15, the 5-day Flex Pass Pilot will end three months later, on Sept. 15. The Flex Pass will no longer be available for purchase on mTicket after Sept. 15, though Flex Passes purchased before that date will continue to be valid until they are used or expire.
    • Commuter Rail Fare Expiration Extension: Commuter Rail customers may travel with unused, expired, paper One-Way, Round-Trip, and 10-Ride tickets that were valid on March 10, 2020, onboard between June 15, 2021, and Sept. 15, 2021. Unused mTickets that were valid on March 10, 2020, will also be reissued a final time on Sunday, June 20, 2021, with an expiration of Sept. 15. Customers do not need to take any action – the MBTA will automatically push new mTickets to customers’ apps for use until Sept. 15.
    • Ruggles Station Reopening: Ruggles Station has reopened, with a new commuter rail platform allowing an increase in commuter rail trains stopping at Ruggles Station. All inbound trains on the Providence/Stoughton, Needham, and Franklin lines will now stop at Ruggles (rather than backtracking to South Station or Back Bay stations).

    MBTA Summer 2021 Service Changes

    • The MBTA is adding back service across the system to support increased travel across the region. To see how these changes will impact your commute, please visit the MBTA Summer 2021 Service Changes webpage.
    • Please share your MBTA commuting experience by completing this comment card https://www.masco.org/moving-around-the-lma/mbta-service-feedback.

    MASCO Shuttles

    • MASCO shuttles 
      • All seats will be available for passengers on MASCO vehicles. Passengers will be allowed to stand when possible. 
      • Masks continue to be required for passengers and drivers while on MASCO vehicles. No eating or drinking is allowed. 
    • Please refer to the MASCO website for details on mask wearing, cleaning, and disinfecting protocols, physical distancing measures, and other advisories.
  • Testing

    The University encourages everyone to use the eight free COVID tests per month available through private health insurance. Students and dependents insured through the Harvard University Student Health Program (HUSHP), can obtain free rapid home tests through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts instructions are listed on the HUSHP website. For employees and dependents covered under the University’s Express Scripts program, instructions for ordering free test kits are detailed in this PDF. If you have a different health plan, check with your insurance carrier.

  • Travel Guidance

    Click here for current travel guidance from Harvard University, including COVID-19 travel requirements, the post-travel COVID testing and quarantine policy, and the requirement to register Harvard-related international travel with International SOS, the University’s emergency response provider.

  • Vaccine Information & Verification

    Harvard requires all students to be up-to-date on their COVID vaccinations per CDC definition. Students who are not up-to-date on their COVID vaccine, or other required vaccinations, will have a hold placed on their enrollment. For Harvard paid-employees, Harvard highly recommends being up-to-date with your COVID vaccinations per CDC definition. Harvard will continue to monitor compliance for primary series vaccination.

    Click here for additional information from the University, including how to schedule a COVID vaccine. Individuals should also visit HUHS for guidance on how to verify their vaccine and booster. For additional details on the vaccination policy, visit HUHS’ vaccine requirement FAQs page.

  • Visitor Policy

    All visitors must be informed and abide by current University policies. COVID-19 Safety Awareness Training: Protection/Prevention Practices provides current guidance and safety practices. Visitors must also be notified that Harvard has a vaccination requirement and that they should plan to be fully vaccinated before coming to campus. Visitors must not come to campus if they are exhibiting symptoms, have been diagnosed with COVID-19, or have otherwise been instructed to quarantine or isolate.